Vintage European Posters & the Birth of Modern Advertising

The featured collection of European Vintage Posters dates back to the turn of the century. These artworks symbolize the first days of the age of consumerism, and with it the explosion of advertising. With the evolution of the printing processes in the late 1800s, the ability to combine words and images made the lithographic poster a powerful innovation. Starting in the 1870s in Paris, such posters became the dominant means of mass comunication in the rapidly growing cities of Europe and subsequently America.

For the first time, art was becoming synonomous with selling, and the greatest artists of the time were being tapped to produce vibrant and engaging works to stimulate onlookers’ desire to purchase the advertised products. Through this new method, the creators of what was then a unique new medium had hoped to stimulate the senses and imaginations of the growing middle class. The public’s purchasing power was growing, along with appetite for luxury comodities. Art served to help brands differentiate their products and the streets of Paris, New York and Berlin were rapidly transformed into the “art gallery of the street,” ushering in the modern age of advertising.

The first ever ads were made in many categories: art nouveau, theater, entertainment and exhibition, wine and spirits, travel and transportation, movies and music, sports, food products, military and political, and other categories. We invite you to view our collection and select your favorites for purchase.